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Archive for the ‘law’ category

Oct 10, 2018

New FAA Rules for Drones Go Into Effect

Posted by in categories: drones, law, robotics/AI

The 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act maintains a distinction between recreational and commercial activities, but the FAA is no longer constrained by law not to impose rules on the former: Section 336, which had previously carved out an exception for model aircraft, has been entirely repealed. In its place is a new Section 349, which covers what the FAA expects of recreational flyers.

The title of Section 349 betrays a very different attitude compared with the earlier Section 336. It reads: “Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft.” No more calling them model aircraft: Small models—including things sold as toys, even paper airplanes—are referred to as “Unmanned Aircraft.”

That seems a little ridiculous to me. In my view, the FAA is committing what philosophers sometimes call the fallacy of the beard: A paper airplane is clearly not something the FAA should worry about, whereas a large octocopter with whirring blades carrying a heavy camera is. But where do you draw the line? The FAA refuses to set a threshold under which it bows out, insisting that everything not carrying people and capable of flight is an “unmanned aircraft” requiring the agency’s oversight and regulation.

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Oct 10, 2018

Aging Happens

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, law, life extension

Today, we have a talk by Dr. Alvaro Macieira-Coelho, who discusses how aging is a consequence of thermodynamics and entropy. Quite simply, aging is the default for most species.

Earlier this year, we hosted the Ending Age-Related Diseases 2018 conference at the Cooper Union, New York City. The event was focused on bringing the worlds of research and investment in the rejuvenation biotechnology field together and saw a number of talks and panels focused on research and investment.

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Oct 7, 2018

Astronomers Are Getting Excited Over Ghostly Traces of a Massive Cosmic Explosion

Posted by in categories: law, space

A comparison of surveys taken of the sky years apart has revealed an empty space where a star 280 million light years away once sat.

Coded FIRST J1419+3940, records of the object hint at what would have been a violent death. Curiously, no trace of its final explosive moments can be found – but this ghostly silence has only made astronomers all the more excited.

“We compared images from old maps of the sky and found one radio source that was no longer visible today in the Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS),” says astronomer Casey Law from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Oct 2, 2018

Scientists may have uncovered an entire new whale species

Posted by in categories: law, sustainability

(CNN) — Scientists believe a fossil found at a landfill in California belongs to an extinct species of whale that lived between 4 and 7 million years ago.

The seven-ton fossil was unearthed in June during a construction excavation at the Prima Deshecha landfill in San Juan Capistrano, Orange County Waste & Recycling announced in a statement.

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Sep 29, 2018

California just became the first state with an Internet of Things cybersecurity law

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, internet, law

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a cybersecurity law covering “smart” devices, making California the first state with such a law. The bill, SB-327, was introduced last year and passed the state senate in late August.

Starting on January 1st, 2020, any manufacturer of a device that connects “directly or indirectly” to the internet must equip it with “reasonable” security features, designed to prevent unauthorized access, modification, or information disclosure. If it can be accessed outside a local area network with a password, it needs to either come with a unique password for each device, or force users to set their own password the first time they connect. That means no more generic default credentials for a hacker to guess.

The bill has been praised as a good first step by some and criticized by others for its vagueness. Cybersecurity expert Robert Graham has been one of its harshest critics. He’s argued that it gets security issues backwards by focusing on adding “good” features instead of removing bad ones that open devices up to attacks. He praised the password requirement, but said it doesn’t cover the whole range of authentication systems that “may or may not be called passwords,” which could still let manufacturers leave the kind of security holes that allowed the devastating Mirai botnet to spread in 2016.

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Sep 28, 2018

Trust: the inside story of the rise and fall of Ethereum

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, law

But there’s a catch: what about the faithful ‘execution’ of a contract? Doesn’t that require trust as well? What good is an agreement, after all, if the text is there but people don’t respect it, and don’t follow through on their obligations? Which brings us back to the crucial matter of how Buterin managed to piss off so many people.


The great cryptocurrency heist.

Blockchain enthusiasts crave a world without bankers, lawyers or fat-cat executives. There’s just one problem: trust.

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Sep 25, 2018

“Healthspan” & “Duty to Die” for the Elderly — Bioethicists Push Health Care Rationing

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, ethics, law, life extension, policy

A duty to die at 75 by law?! No need to cure one disease because anyway you will die from another after 65?! A new article uncovers the dangers of going to ‘healthy’ and not longer lifespan:


2) A duty to die becomes greater as you grow older. As we age, we will be giving up less by giving up our lives, if only because we will sacrifice fewer remaining years of life and a smaller portion of our life plans… To have reached the age of, say, seventy-five or eighty years without being ready to die is itself a moral failing, the sign of a life out of touch with life’s basic realities.

3) A duty to die is more likely when you have already lived a full and rich life. You have already had a full share of the good things life offers.

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Sep 24, 2018

New law would give feds the right to shoot down private drones in U.S.

Posted by in categories: drones, law

The FAA bill that goes to the House floor Wednesday also establishes a Syria Study Group to provide the first comprehensive review of U.S. strategy in Syria.

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Sep 19, 2018

Artificial intelligence can transform the economy

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, employment, finance, law, robotics/AI

Surging productivity and the general rise in incomes it brings would be welcome, of course, but that isn’t sufficient. The same questions being raised about the advance of robotics in the workplace apply to machine learning. While new jobs would be created, many existing jobs — from doctors and financial advisers to translators and call-center operators — are susceptible to displacement or much-reduced roles. No economic law guarantees that productivity growth benefits everyone equally. Unless we thoughtfully manage the transition, some people, even a majority, are vulnerable to being left behind even as others reap billions.


Whether it’s for the better and for the many is up to human intelligence.

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Sep 18, 2018

Giving environmental water to drought-stricken farmers sounds straightforward, but it’s a bad idea

Posted by in categories: government, law

The east coast is currently flooded. Why don’t we have pipelines for pumping water around the country where it is needed? We do it for oil and gas, and you know if it leaks it would not be a toxic mess.


Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack last week suggested the government would look at changing the law to allow water to be taken from the environment and given to farmers struggling with the drought.

This is a bad idea for several reasons. First, the needs in dry years as well as wet ones. Second, unilaterally intervening in the way water is distributed between users undermines the water market, which is now worth billions of dollars. And, third, in dry years the environment gets a smaller allocation too, so there simply isn’t enough water to make this worthwhile.

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